THE HORSES, THE PEOPLE, THE LIFESTYLE SUMMER 2014 Complimentary
Saratoga R a c e
C o u r s e
Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty
General Manager Robin Mitchell
Creative Director Jessica Kane
Advertising Chris Bushee Jim Daley Cindy Durfey
Graphic Designers Melissa Brimacomb Jessica Kane Colleen Sweeney
Contributing Writers Brien Bouyea Gary Garnett Arthur Gonick Dennis G. Hogan Marilyn Lane
Photographers MarkBolles.com National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame NYRA.com (Adam Coglianese) Sharon Castro Photography StockStudiosPhotography.com Thinkstock.com
Published by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: (518) 581-2480 fax: (518) 581-2487 saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com Equicurean is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by a ny means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2014, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper
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THORO U G H BR ED 10 2014 Racing Schedule 16 Fasig-Tipton Sales
20 Top Ten Thoroughbreds 24 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
28 Hallowed Hall 34 Top Ten Jockeys 38 McMahon’s Thoroughbreds 48 150 Years of Racing History 60 In the Spotlight 52 The Story of Kevin Cox 70 Billy Fuccillo 72 Track Fashion
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S A R ATO G A P OLO
76 Welcome to Polo 78 History of Polo 80 Schedule 84 Polo Primer
88 Polo Equipment 90 Colors of Polo
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WELCOME! Noted as one of the “Top 10 Sporting Venues In The World” by Sports Illustrated, Saratoga Race Course is one of horse racing’s most beloved tracks. With historical ambiance and modern day amenities and style, Saratoga Race Course is the place to find top Thoroughbred horse racing July through Labor Day each year. The 40-day meet draws the top horses, trainers and owners in the world to try their luck at “the Spa.” Known as the Graveyard of Champions, Saratoga Race Course has earned a reputation for being a challenging track for favorites. In fact, the dominant Man O’ War lost his only race against the aptly named Upset here at Saratoga.
RACETRACK DETAILS 40 days July 18 to September 1 Excluding Dark Tuesdays Post times:1 p.m. daily except:11:35 a.m. on Travers Day, Saturday, August 23. 12:30 p.m. on Monday, September 1 – Labor Day INFORMATION For information prior to the meet please phone (718) 641-4700 or (516) 488-6000. For information during the 2014 Saratoga meet (July 18 to September 1) please call (518) 584-6200. Saratoga Race Course is a 350-acre racetrack in Saratoga Springs. The 2014 meeting will be 40 days long from Friday, July 18 to Labor Day, Monday, September 1. Saratoga is the home of the 145th Running of the Travers Stakes on August 23. Main Course: 1 1/8 Miles Turf Course: 1 Mile Steeplechase/Inner Turf: 7/8 Mile Attendance Capacity: 50,000 Trackside Dining: 2,200 Total Seating Capacity: 18,000, including picnic tables and benches. General Parking: Free Trackside Parking $12. Gates open at 6:45a.m. (Refunds available until 10 a.m. No refunds on Travers Day Saturday, August 24) Preferred Parking: Preferred parking available for $7 while trackside parking is $12. Equicurean | July 2014 | 11
TRACK INFO Admission Grandstand admission is $5 Clubhouse admission is $8 Patrons entering via the grandstand can pay the $3 exchange to enter the clubhouse area. Traditions/Courtesies/ Rules • Coolers are permitted in the backyard, apron and Top of the Stretch areas only. Coolers are not permitted anywhere inside the building. No glass is permitted to be brought onto the premises. Coolers may contain plastic bottles or cans and are subject to search by NYRA Security personnel. • Pop-Up tents and umbrellas are restricted to the backyard area only. They are prohibited on the apron, and by the Paddock. However, if a Pop-Up Tent or Umbrella in the backyard is blocking another patron’s view of a TV monitor, tote board, etc., then the obstruction must be removed. • It is a long-time race track tradition that you can “reserve” a bench seat with a newspaper or program. We ask that you respect this tradition, but please be aware that our Security Personnel will not intercede in any debate regarding this matter. • Backyard Picnic Tables – another tradition is that anyone coming to the track early (after 7:00 a.m.) can reserve a picnic table by putting their articles on that table (1 table per person). You must then exit the track when the morning breakfast patrons leave, and pay to re-enter at the time the gates open for racing. • After the official opening of the first floor Carousel (11:00 a.m. weekdays, 10:30 a.m. weekends; 7:00 a.m. Travers Day), patrons may “reserve” seating by placing their property on the table. “Reserved” tables not claimed by post time of the 1st race are subject to release. • There is NO SMOKING permitted anywhere inside the building, including the reserved seats, box area, and all dining areas. • Wheelchair Access Areas – there are specially marked areas for wheelchairs only behind Reserved Seat Sections J (in the Clubhouse) and M (in the Grandstand). 12 | Equicurean | July 2014
• Resale of tickets – Tickets may not be resold or offered for resale at a premium in excess of the amount allowed by any Federal, State or local law or regulation; the NYS legislature prohibits any resale of tickets within 1,000 feet of our property line. Track Services Binocular Rentals located on the first floor, Clubhouse and Grandstand. ATM Machines For your convenience, ATM machines are at the following locations: • First floor Grandstand at the end mutuel window, closest to the finish line • First floor Grandstand near First Aid • First floor Grandstand adjacent to Saratoga Silks • Picnic area, outside the Guest Services Office • Picnic area, Mutuel Bay adjacent to the Reserved Seat Box Office • Second floor Clubhouse behind Reserved Seat Section C First Aid Located on the first floor, Grandstand, behind the Carousel Mini Theatre. Lost and Found Located in the Security Office, first floor, Mezzanine, west end. Race Replay Centers Located in the First Floor Clubhouse and the Carousel Mini Theatre. Coolers Coolers are permitted on the trackside apron, the Top of the Stretch and backyard picnic area. Coolers are not permitted anywhere inside the building. ALL GLASS CONTAINERS ARE PROHIBITED. Coolers may contain plastic bottles or cans and subject to search by NYRA security.
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TRACK Dress Code Please take note of Saratoga’s new and more fan-friendly dress code. (Management reserves the right to use its discretion to determine Neat Casual Attire). At the Rail Pavilion, The Porch, Club Terrace & Carousel Restaurant: Gentlemen – No Tank Tops, No short-shorts, cut-offs or abbreviated wear permitted. Proper attire at management’s discretion. Paddock Saddling Area & Winner’s Circle: No shorts or abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen–collared shirts required. Box Seat Area: No shorts or jeans permitted. Gentlemen – suits or sports jackets required. Turf Terrace: Neat Casual Attire, No jeans, shorts or abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen – collared shirts required
Luxury Suites: No abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen - No tank tops Proper attire at management’s discretion. Clubhouse: No short shorts, cut-offs or abbreviated wear permitted. No tank tops. Proper attire at management’s discretion Grandstand: Shirts and shoes required. People 12 years and over must abide by the dress code.
Dining At the Track The Turf Terrace Dining Room is located on the third and fourth floors of the Clubhouse. The multi-level trackside dining area offers a great view of all the racing action overlooking the finish line. An a la carte menu is served in a formal open-air setting. The Club Terrace is located behind the box seat area on the second floor of the Clubhouse, overlooking the backyard & paddock. It offers a popular selection of appetizers, refreshing salads and specialty sandwiches in a casual openair setting. Television monitors are available for viewing of the races. The Porch is located on the track level of the Clubhouse just a few feet from the outside rail. It offers an a la carte menu in a casual open-air setting. Please go to http://www.nyra.com/saratoga/ or call (518) 584-6200 x 2260 for specific guidelines regarding: Dress Code, Reservations, Seating Charges and the Cancellation Policy regarding any of the dining options mentioned above. 14 | Equicurean | July 2014
Breakfast at Saratoga is a long-standing tradition. Every racing day from 7 to 9:30 a.m., breakfast is served on The Porch of the Clubhouse while the Thoroughbreds prepare for future races. Mary Ryan, a lifelong horsewoman, provides expert commentary for the workouts. Admission to breakfast is free with the exception of Travers Day when a $10 Clubhouse admission fee is required. Dress code is casual attire, trackside parking is $10, but refundable if you leave by 10 am. The Breakfast Buffet is $14.95 per person, $8.95 for children ages 3-12, plus tax & gratuity. One of the highlights of the breakfast program is the free walking tour of our famous and historic stable area (weather permitting). The first tram that takes you to the stable area leaves the main Clubhouse entrance at 7:30 a.m. with additional trams leaving approximately every 15 minutes. The last tour departs at around 9:00 a.m. (The Tour is available every race day except Travers Day and Labor Day)
Travers Day, enhanced Whitney Day & new Saratoga Showcase Day
• The 146th Saratoga Race Course meet will feature a record $17.45 million in stakes purses, topped by the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on Saturday, August 23 and the Grade 1, $1.5 million Whitney on Saturday, August 2.
• The Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, won the past two years by two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, is the featured race on August 9. The Fourstardave is a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.
• Both the 1 ¼-mile Travers for 3-year-olds and the 1 1/8mile Whitney for 3-year-olds and up received significant purse increases over their 2013 levels, having been previously worth $1 million and $750,000, respectively.
• The 1 1/8-mile Coaching Club American Oaks precedes the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama, New York’s top race for 3-yearold fillies. The 1 ¼-mile Alabama is scheduled for Saturday, August 16. The Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid, also for 3-year-old fillies, will be contested on the turf as part of the Alabama undercard.
• The 145th running of the Travers is one of four stakes scheduled for August 23 and shares the card with the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop for 3-year-old sprinters, the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina for filly and mare sprinters, and the Grade 2, $250,000 Ballston Spa for filly and mare turf horses. The 2013 Travers went to Will Take Charge, who later was named Champion Three-Year-Old Male. • Another blockbuster day of stakes action on the schedule is August 2, with the Whitney, one of North America’s premier races for older males on the dirt, topping a card that includes five stakes. Joining the Whitney Day program this year will be the Grade 1, $500,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies, the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap for older sprinters, and the $100,000 Lure stakes. The $100,000 De La Rose will also once again be part of the Whitney Day festivities this year. • Sunday, August 24 will be dedicated to the best New Yorkbreds as Saratoga will host the inaugural Saratoga Showcase Day, featuring the Albany, West Point, Yaddo, Fleet Indian, Funny Cide, and Seeking the Ante. • In total, Saratoga Race Course will host 33 graded flat races, including 15 Grade 1 events. Opening weekend will feature two Grade 1 races: the $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares on the turf on Saturday, July 19 and the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday, July 20. • Three year-olds will have the spotlight on Saturday, July 26 as they will compete in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy at 1 1/8 miles and the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam at 6 ½ furlongs. In the past 10 years, seven horses have used the Jim Dandy as a springboard to a victory in the Travers. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
• The final Saturday, August 30, will include four stakes, topped by the $600,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Older males also will compete in the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego at seven furlongs on the main track and in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch on the turf. Sophomore fillies will sprint in the Grade 2, $300,000 Prioress. • Completing the list of Grade 1 races on the flat are the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on Sunday, August 17, the $350,000 Spinaway on Sunday, August 31, and the $350,000 Hopeful on closing day, Monday, September 1. • “This exciting stakes menu will ensure that Saratoga Race Course again hosts the finest race meeting in North America, and our enhanced Whitney Day reflects our desire to make it one of the most significant days on the national racing calendar,” said Chris Kay, CEO and President of The New York Racing Association, Inc. “Our new racing personnel, led by Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza and Racing Secretary Frank Gabriel Jr., are working every day to improve the quality of racing - as reflected in this powerful collection of outstanding races.” • Saratoga will also host a pair of Grade 1 steeplechase races: the $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial on Thursday, July 31, and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup run in memory of Thomas H. Voss.
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Fasig-Tipton 2014 Saratoga Sales Aug 4-5 The Saratoga Sale Aug 9-10 NY Bred Preferred Yearlings
Sessions will begin each evening at 7 pm in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“We take great pride in presenting an outstanding group of yearlings to buyers each year at Saratoga, and in 2014, we again have a catalogue of tremendous quality,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “Buyers will find well conformed individuals with depth of pedigree, by a wide variety of the world’s leading sires.”
S t a t i st i c s f o r 8 / 5 / 2 0 1 3 T H R U 8 / 6 / 2 0 1 3 S a l e Date Sold Total Average Not Sold Median 8/5/2013 8/6/2013 TOTALS
50 58 108
$15,670,000 $16,200,000 $31,870,000
$313,400 $279,310 $295,093
17 12 29
$272,500 $250,000 $250,000
S t a t i st i c s f o r 8 / 1 0 / 2 0 1 3 T H R U 8 / 1 1 / 2 0 1 3 S a l e Date Sold Total Average Not Sold Median 8/10/2013 8/11/2013 TOTALS
95 101 196
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$6,427,500 $7,778,500 $14,206,000
$67,658 $77,015 $72,480
38 29 67
$55,000 $55,000 $55,000
Saratoga Selected Yearlings (2013) Hip # Sex Sire Dam Price
69 F DYNAFORMER INDY PICK $ 1,225,000
23 F DISTORTED HUMOR CASCADING $ 1,000,000 33 C MEDAGLIA D’ORO CRYSTAL CURRENT $ 875,000 105 C INDIAN CHARLIE QUEENIE CAT $ 750,000 83 F WAR FRONT LERICI $ 650,000 108 F DISTORTED HUMOR REMEMBER $ 650,000 8 F INDIAN CHARLIE ALPINE GARDEN $ 600,000 129 F GALILEO (IRE) SONG TO REMEMBER $ 600,000 134 C MEDAGLIA D’ORO STOP TRAFFIC $ 600,000 84 C DISTORTED HUMOR LIFE WELL LIVED $ 525,000
Saratoga NY Bred Preferred Yearlings (2013) Hip # Sex Sire Dam Price 379 F TAPIT MISS CHALLENGE $ 430,000
207 F WAR FRONT UNREPENTANT $ 300,000 392 F SPEIGHTSTOWN MY REEM $ 300,000 350 C MIDNIGHT LUTE KRAKOWVIAK $ 250,000 351 F WAR FRONT LADY RENAISSANCE $ 240,000
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BRIDGE OF NOSE
POINT OF HIP CROUP
POINT OF BUTTOCK
CHEEK THROATLATCH THIGH
CHIN SHOULDER POINT OF SHOULDER
GASKIN KNEE CANNON FETLOCK
CONFORMATION: More Than Just a Pretty Face
When buyers of Thoroughbreds consider a horse for purchase, one of the key considerations is conformation: simply put, the way a horse is physically put together. The bones, muscles and proportions of the animal are the characteristics that ultimately prepare them for their job–that of running quickly with great efficiency. As with human cultural differences, each breed of horse has standards of beauty. That beauty is not superficial, rather tied directly at the most basic level to expectations for the jobs of horses within said breed. Draft horses work hard for a living: 18 | Equicurean | July 2014
they are stocky and muscular, with thick legs and strong backs. Thoroughbreds must be able to run fast with grace, for grace of movement is a factor in the science of winning races. Long, elegant strides are the domain of those who win purses, while jackrabbit runners are far less likely to take the day. This is a most egalitarian concept: a Thoroughbred doesn’t win a race because s/he is liked better by the stewards or race announcer. No one votes on who should win—or the Triple Crown would be achieved every year. A Thoroughbred must cross the finish line first to win a race. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
And just as Fasig-Tipton’s elegant, renovated facilities are both magnificently lovely and serve a very practical purpose– concern for equine conformation is a matter of form follows function. Whether a horse’s main function is to run fast to win a race or to escape predators on the range—its form has been “fearfully and wonderfully made” to accommodate that most basic of instincts. The machinery that gives a Thoroughbred her locomotion–the self-powered, patterned motion of limbs or other anatomical parts–is vitally essential, from the core. A horse may be appealing to the eye, but if the parts aren’t hung together in a way that facilitates smooth action and a long stride–beauty means nothing. The legs, hind end, neck, withers and abdomen must all work together like a machine, creating a rhythm that is easily maintained, right ‘til the end of the race. The runners may speed up in the stretch, but the original stride and way of moving of each horse remains essentially the same. Many factors go into the study of conformation: it’s about musculature; skeletal structure and mass. But the way those physical attributes come together with the spirit of the horse–that one unquantifiable factor— determines the horse’s chances of becoming a champion. Energy must overcome drag, inertia and gravity, and that is achieved by the mechanical workings of the biological attributes of the horse. Even the fact that horses are unguligrade—they are of a class of animals who walk and run on their toes—contributes to the relative perfection of the animal. Of course, horses lacking excellent conformation have made monster names for themselves in the sport: Seabiscuit was small, somewhat boney and was over at the knees. The mighty Seattle Slew was slew-footed: when he walked, his right-front hoof turned out. He ran straight as a string, but as soon as he walked back off the track, that right hoof turned and faced East. Both Seabiscuit and Seattle Slew established themselves in the Pantheon of Thoroughbred racing, their conformation problems notwithstanding. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
Secretariat, the mighty warrior who won the Belmont— therefore, the Triple Crown, by an other-worldly 31 lengths— is considered by most to be the most perfectly-conformed Thoroughbred. NYRA’s Head Starter, Roy Williamson, cites that Secretariat was the most perfect horse he’s ever touched— and he’s touched hundreds of thousands of horses in his long and illustrious career. The legendary Chick Lang responded to Secretariat’s Belmont win by stating that, “It is as if God decided to create the perfect horse.” Indeed, Secretariat was as perfect as possible. To determine a “perfectly” conformed Thoroughbred: a perfect square should be formed by its legs, back and distance between the hooves. A distasteful thought, but if you can envision a Thoroughbred with its head cut off at the neck—that squareness, or lack thereof, will be revealed. Secretariat formed a perfect square, to the naked eye using that yardstick. Leonard Lusky of www. Secretariat.com, shares this truth: “Secretariat truly was a Super-Horse, not only in terms of athletic ability but in his looks. His conformation and musculature were unparalleled in the Thoroughbred racing world.” And that, of course, indicates that his acceleration, speed, and ability to defy drag and gravity were facilitated by his perfection of conformation and the extraordinary mechanics of his biology working together with his focus, drive and will to win. Horse sales and races continue long after Secretariat’s 1973 Triple Crown win because this is the sport in which hope springs eternal. There may be another horse out there whose conformation comes together with her pedigree to create another winner of exceptional proportions. Conformation will be studied and respected as a key factor as long as horse people keep hope in their hearts, and science on their minds. Conformation is not the only determining factor, but it’s the first that buyers and sellers notice—and the one that has the most clout when doing the physics, that sweet science that aids and abets the quest to win at this sport that offers more intangible rewards than any athletic endeavor on Earth. õ Equicurean | July 2014 | 19
Greatest Horses to Race
at the Spa
One good way
to begin a fascinating — and in all likelihood heated — discussion about Thoroughbred racing at Saratoga is by making an attempt to compile a list of the 10 greatest horses to ever run at the fabled Spa. Opinions on what constitutes greatness will always be subjective and the method by which such a list is determined is as debatable as the list itself. Inevitably, numerous legends — even Hall of Fame members — won’t make the cut. For the purposes of this exercise I have placed the highest priority on how a horse’s accomplishments in
1. Native Dancer
Undefeated in six starts at Saratoga in 1952 and 1953. Won the Flash, Saratoga Special, Grand Union Hotel and Hopeful stakes as a 2-year-old and added the Travers and Oneonta stakes at 3. Finished his career with 21 wins in 22 starts and was a two-time Horse of the Year.
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By Brien Bouyea, photos provided
Saratoga’s elite races have resonated through the procession of time, as well as how they relate to a horse’s overall body of work.
Therefore, while Rachel Alexandra’s electrifying run in the 2009 Woodward will be marveled at for years to come, it was only one race and not enough to get her on this list. How about Fourstardave? Nope. Although he has his rightful place in Saratoga’s annals, the lovable New York-bred doesn’t even come close to cracking this list. Without further delay, here are my selections for the greatest racehorses to ever rumble over the Spa oval.
2. Man o’ War Won 20 of 21 career starts and was ranked as the greatest thoroughbred of the 20th century by The Blood-Horse. At Saratoga, won the United States Hotel, Grand Union Hotel and Hopeful stakes in 1919 and the Travers and Miller stakes in 1920. His record in the Travers stood for 42 years. Man o’ War did suffer his lone — and controversial — defeat at Saratoga, helping the track earn the moniker “Graveyard of Favorites.” In the 1919 Sanford Memorial Stakes, he was supposedly facing the wrong way when the race began and was left at the post. Although he rallied furiously, Man o’ War was beaten by the aptly named Upset. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
Won the prestigious Saratoga Cup in 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922, as well as the Merchants’ and Citizens’ Handicap in 1921. In eight seasons of racing, the iron gelding won 50 races, including 33 stakes events.
Undefeated in four starts at Saratoga. Won the Whitney Handicap in 1961, 1963 and 1965, becoming only the second horse to win the prestigious race three times. Kelso was named Horse of the Year an unprecedented five consecutive years (1960-64) and won 39 career races.
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In the early days of Saratoga, the mighty Kentucky was the best of the best. He won the inaugural edition of the Travers (the first race contested at Saratoga Race Course in 1864) and followed up by winning the first two runnings of the Saratoga Cup in 1865 and 1866. After losing his second career start, Kentucky won 20 in a row and finished his career with 21 wins in 22 starts.
Although he would be considerably higher on other lists, Secretariat made only two starts at Saratoga. Both, however, were brilliant. The year before he won the Triple Crown, Secretariat won both the Sanford and Hopeful in record time en route to being named Horse of the Year as a 2-year-old in 1972. He repeated as Horse of the Year during his 1973 Triple Crown campaign and finished his career with 16 wins in 21 starts.
The first horse to win the Whitney three times and the only one to win it in three consecutive years (1934, 1935, 1936), Discovery was a Saratoga stalwart who also won the Kenner, Wilson, Saratoga Handicap and Merchants’ and Citizens’. He won 27 career races.
Although she made the fewest career starts (11) of any horse on this list, the great filly Regret’s Saratoga accomplishments in 1914 are most worthy of inclusion. She won the Saratoga Special, Sanford and Hopeful as a 2-year-old, competing exclusively against colts, and also won the Saranac at age 3. She remains the lone filly in Saratoga’s history to win those three events for juveniles. Following her Saratoga exploits in 1914, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby the following year.
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9. War Admiral The greatest son of Man o’ War, War Admiral was undefeated in four starts at Saratoga, winning the Wilson, Saratoga Handicap, Whitney and Saratoga Cup. The 1937 Triple Crown winner, War Admiral won 21 of 26 career starts.
10. Whirlaway The only Triple Crown winner (1941) to win the Travers, Whirlaway also won the Saratoga Special, Grad Union Hotel, Hopeful and Saranac at Saratoga. A two-time Horse of the Year, Whirlaway finished his career with 32 wins.
A few others who barely missed the cut: Eight Thirty - Won four stakes (the Wilson, Saratoga, Whitney and Travers) within a month in 1930 Equipoise - Won the Wilson and Whitney in 1932, as well as the Wilson and Saratoga Cup in 1933 Roamer - Won the Saratoga Special, Huron, Travers, Saratoga Cup, Merchants’ and the Saratoga Handicap. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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64 years of
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RACING AND HALL OF FAME Led by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, a group of people prominent within the sport of Thoroughbred racing established the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs in 1950. Less than a year later, on Aug. 6, 1951, amid a great deal of fanfare, the museum opened in a temporary location at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park.
“The long-range purpose,” Whitney said at the opening in the famous old casino “is to build a permanent home for the important memorabilia for the sport whose beginnings in this 24 | Equicurean | July 2014
country antedate by 100 years or more the United States of America.” Four years later, the museum moved to a newly constructed facility at 191 Union Ave., directly across the street from historic Saratoga Race Course. Through the decades, the museum has grown in size and scope and now occupies a sprawling building with some 45,000 square feet of space. Joining Whitney as the founding group in signing the charter for the Museum were George D. Widener, F. Skiddy von Stade, Donald P. Ross, Kenneth K. Burke, Nelson Dunstan, saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
John Hay Whitney, Carlton F. Burke and John C. Clark. Also recognized as organizers of the Museum are Walter M. Jeffords, Francis Dorsey, Howell E. Jackson, Paul Kerr, Denis Mansfield, Dr. Charles Strub, Bryce Wing, Spencer Eddy, Robert F. Kelley and Addison Mallery, the mayor of Saratoga Springs at the time.
in the Canfield Casino and into a structure being built specifically to house it, a Saratoga citizen, James E. Benton, applauded. He sparked some of the impetus toward a Hall of Fame with a letter to journalists Nelson Dunstan and Gene Ward. He made an eloquent plea, noting that some aspects of Saratoga were changing — the demise of the
The first gift for the Museum project was $5,000 from the Saratoga Association, which owned and operated Saratoga Race Course. Harold O. Vosburgh, a steward for the Saratoga Association, donated the first piece of memorabilia, a shoe from the legendary horse Lexington.
By early 1955, it was announced by Jeffords that the new building would, indeed, include a Hall of Fame. The Museum board had passed the following: “Resolved that the National Museum of Racing create and be custodian of racing’s Hall of Fame and its president be empowered to appoint a committee whose duties it will be to recommend to the board of trustees ways and means of selecting candidates.” Given that Thoroughbred racing had been a part of life in America since the colonial days, a bit of catching up was needed. It was decided that the first group of Hall of Fame inductees would be comprised of horses which had raced prior to 1900 and jockeys and trainers who were no longer active.
Whitney served as the first president of the Museum from 1950 to 1953. He was followed by Jeffords, 1953 to 1960; Widener, 1960 to 1968; John W. Hanes, 1968 to 1970; Gerard S. Smith, 1970 to 1974; Charles E. Mather II, 1974 to 1982; Whitney Tower, 1982 to 1989; John T. von Stade, 1989 to 2005; and Stella F. Thayer, 2005 to the present. The museum was popular from the beginning. During its first year of operation at the Canfield Casino in 1951, the Museum attracted more than 8,000 visitors. At the end of 1952, the register showed 11,500 names.
Grand Union and United States hotels, for example — but that tradition was an important part of the area and racing.
When it was announced the museum would move out of its original quarters
“If a board of turf writers, for instance, were to elect annually to the Hall of
Fame one or more jockeys, horses, or trainers, it would be of national importance,” Benton wrote. “An annual special award would be coveted.”
The inaugural class of inductees included the horses Ben Brush, Boston, Domino, Hanover, Hindoo, Kingston, Lexington, Salvator and Sir Archy; the jockeys Laverne Fator, Edward Garrison, Danny Maher, James McLaughlin, Walter Miller, Isaac Murphy, George Odom, Earl Sande, Tod Sloan, Fred Taral, Nash Turner and George Woolf; and trainers William Preston Burch, Thomas Healey, Sam Equicurean | July 2014 | 25
Hildreth, A.J. Joyner, John Rogers and James Rowe Sr. Ground was broken for the museum’s permanent home during the final week of November, 1954. The cornerstone was laid in April, 1955 and New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman presided over the formal dedication on Aug. 16, during the Saratoga racing season. Harriman spoke briefly prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Racing, in order to continue, must remain as a sport,” he said, “and not as a commercial enterprise. We must maintain the traditions of racing, and Saratoga is rich in such traditions.” The New York Times’ report on the dedication said the building cost $300,000. The National Museum of Racing opened to the public on June 2, 1956. The building was designed by New York City architect Augustus Noel. In 1957, the first addition, called the Patrons of the Turf Gallery, was completed. More expansion followed. A third wing was added in 1979 and became
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the home of the Hall of Fame. Until the mid-l980s, the Museum functioned primarily as a diversified set of galleries and was open only during the summer. In the 1980s, the museum began evolving into a professionally managed institution. The board of trustees raised $6.4 million and hired an English design team experienced with thoroughbred racing to completely renovate the building and develop historical galleries covering three centuries of racing in America. The renovation took 10 months and the building reopened on July 14, 1988. Between 1999 and 2000, a major
renovation and a 10,000-square-foot expansion of the physical plant costing $18 million improved collections storage and created a changing exhibition space, a curatorial workroom, and a Children’s Gallery. The story line of the semi-permanent historical galleries also expanded to include 20th century history and current events in racing. Extensive audio and video presentations, as well as interactive exhibits for families and adults, have been added throughout the Museum. During the past 20 years, there has been tremendous change in all areas of museum operations. The unique horse racing simulator was developed and opened to the public in 2006, a new interactive Steeplechase Gallery opened in 2012, and the Museum is currently celebrating 150 years of racing at Saratoga with a two-year exhibit that opened in June, 2013.
American Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey aboard the ‘Ready to Ride’ racing simulator. The racing simulator is a mechanical horse, synchronized to move with jockey-cam videos. It allows visitors to mount up and experience the thrill of racing from the jockey's point of view.
Almost 65 years after its founding, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame continues to be a dynamic part of the vibrant sport it celebrates.
With the 2014 election of jockeys Lloyd Hughes and Alex Solis, horses Ashado, Clifford and Curlin, trainer Gary Jones and Pillars of the Turf E.R. Bradley and E.P. Taylor, the Hall of Fame has 394 members. They, and the other greats who follow, represent the courage of victory, the glamour of the turf and the heartbeat of the sporting world. õ
GENERAL INFORMATION ADMISSION FEES $7.00 adults, $5.00 students and senior citizens (55 and older); members and children 5 and under are free. Want free membership all year long? Become a Museum Member! Visit www.racingmuseum.org to sign up. NYRA employees, Hall of Fame inductees and active United States military personnel and their accompanying family members are always free. Please show proper identification. Members Please show membership card ADDRESS & HOURS 191 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs (518) 584-0400 www.racingmuseum.org Racing Season Hours Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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A look behind the scenes of the 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony By Dennis G. Hogan, photos provided
We’re a competitive lot and we play to win. Our best efforts are celebrated with high-fives and pats on the back, while the luckiest among us take home towering trophies or colorful ribbons - and rightly so; for to the victors go the spoils. Though in time our knees buckle, our eyesight wanes and our most triumphant moments fade into memory. Yet some fight through the pain and overcome all hurdles. Competition is their life, and winning is their profession. And for a select few of them, immortality is the reward - for this is the realm of the Hall of Fame. The NFL has Canton, Baseball has Cooperstown, and Thoroughbred Racing has Saratoga Springs. Located on Union Avenue, just a bugler’s call from historic Saratoga Race 28 | Equicurean | July 2014
Course, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, is the home of legendary horses, trainers, jockeys and other contributors whose dedication and mastery embody the sport itself. I sat down with NMR Historian, Allan Carter, and the museum’s Communications Coordinator, Brien Bouyea. They shared their thoughts about what Hall of Fame membership really means. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
“It’s the zenith of a career,” explained Allan, “I think D. Wayne Lukas, said it best. He said, ‘…from here on, the words Hall of Fame will forever precede your name.’ Hall of Fame Jockey, Hall of Fame Trainer, etc.” Brien added, “People talk about winning an Eclipse Award, or the Kentucky Derby. That’s a one-year honor, but entrance to the Hall of Fame reflects a body of work and a lifetime of achievement. “What makes the Racing HOF different is that we have active members. You can go over to Saratoga Race Course this summer and see John Velazquez, or Kent Desormeaux riding; Bill Mott, or Jonathan Sheppard training. “Baseball managers have to be retired before they are eligible for induction to Cooperstown. Cal Ripken could not be playing for the Orioles and also be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Racing has a different model. “A lot of jockeys ride into their fifties, and many trainers simply don’t retire, they’ll be out there until they’re eighty, and it would be a shame to not recognize these folks while they’re still around. Allen Jerkens was inducted in 1975, and he’s still training. I could not imagine that thirty-nine years later, he would not be recognized with the prestige of HOF status; it would be a crime.”
The Jockey Hall of Fame
“Finally, we have a new designation, instituted in 2013: The Pillars of the Turf. These are owners, breeders or racing officials whose contributions to the sport are truly noteworthy. Last year we inducted August Belmont II, who bred Man o’ War, and was credited with saving East Coast racing in the early 20th century; and Paul Mellon, who owned Rokeby Stables. He was a great philanthropist, and is the only owner to have won the Kentucky Derby, the Epsom Derby, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomph.
So who’s eligible? AC: “ We have 4 categories. There’s the Contemporary category, for horses, jockeys and trainers. Horses have to be retired for 5-calendar years; Jockeys have to have been racing for twenty years, and trainers need to have been licensed for twenty-five years.
The original class of 1955
“There’s the Historic category, which recognizes those who’ve been inactive for twenty-five years or more. This category is awarded every 3 out of 4 years, while on the fourth year, we instead honor the Steeplechase category. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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So how does one get in? BB: “ Well, that’s the interesting thing because anyone, including members of the public, can nominate. Just send us a card or an email with your nomination and an explanation as to why you think they belong, and they will be considered.” AC: “I take all the names and look up their records, go through how many stakes they’ve won, etc., and pass the information to Brien.” BB: “We submit this to the nominating committees, which consists of sixteen members, including: journalists, track executives and historians. They come up with a ballot, which names the final 10 candidates. That goes out to approximately one hundred and eighty-five voters throughout the country, and they can vote for as many as they like. Votes are counted and the top 4 are elected to the Hall of Fame. “The process can get pretty contentious. We have conference calls within the committees, sometimes it will take just 1 call, but other times it will take 2 or 3.” AC: “This year, Curlin will go in, and he was a shoo-in; a first-ballot inductee. But I thought Ashado was a shoo-in, and it’s taken 3 years for her to get in. So, there’s quite a bit of debate that guides the process.”
BB: “It’s what they’re capable of doing. They are truly unique animals: able to travel forty miles per hour while balancing a 115-lb jockey on their backs, and they do it with incredible grace and athleticism. I understand they are bred for this, but it takes a tremendous amount of courage. When you see two horses locked eye-to eye and they’re battling for that wire, I think a lot of people can relate to what that takes. “People fell in love with Secretariat because he was so completely above his competition, and to see him pulling away in that Belmont Stakes, back in ’73 – we’d never seen anything like it and probably won’t ever again. “When you read accounts of Man o’War, the connections were often hard-pressed to find horses to run against him. He once beat another horse by 100 lengths. They only retired him because they threatened to put 145 lbs. on him. He was just that good and people appreciate greatness.” AC: “Often when inductees are accepting their award, they’ll say, ‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the horse.’ And it’s true. I’d rather bet a good horse with a so-so jockey, than the other way around. Don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of good jockeys who make the difference, but the horse comes first.”
I’m here for one horse and one horse only. I had a few stakes horses before, but they didn’t compare with Kelso. -Hall of Fame Trainer, Carl Hanford (2006)
It’s always the horse.
What makes the racing Hall of Fame different from all others? Naturally, it’s the horses. Mankind’s relationship with these noble creatures spans the course of centuries. From agriculture to warfare, and all stops in-between, we are endeared to these animals. They are tireless workers, who are all heart. And they rarely complain; instead they fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities, and with little desire of recompense. 30 | Equicurean | July 2014
I want to thank Barbaro, who will be in my heart forever. I miss you, buddy. –Hall of Fame Jockey, Edgar Prado (2008)
Maybe it is the horse, but where would any Hall of Fame be without the fans?
Thoroughbred racing is a sport tempered by humility; just getting a horse to race can be a daunting experience. Clearly, those whose careers are marked by Hall of Fame entrance saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
have seen a lifetime of triumph and sorrow, and to be in the audience on their Induction Day, is to bear witness to the very soul of racing. Cherished memories, first-hand accounts and overwhelming emotions all combine as the year’s inductees are called to the stage. Speeches are unfolded and long-unspoken names are recalled with sincere thanks, and in heartfelt tribute. Forget the programs – they should hand out tissues. AC: “The first induction was back in 1955, the new museum had just opened and it was a private ceremony. I believe it may have been just coffee and tea in the library; quite the understated affair. Eddie Arcaro didn’t even know he got in until fellow jockey Teddy Atkinson mentioned it to him. “And it’s grown over the years. For a while it was held under a tent in the back of the museum building, until moved to its current home at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. “Now, it’s like Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, as good friends don their blue blazers and gather to celebrate the new inductees, tell old stories and just remember. I know people who aren’t really into racing, but they love Induction Day. Besides our other signature event, the Travers Ball, there’s absolutely nothing that compares to it. BB: “There are the ceremonies in the morning, then a luncheon, and day is topped-off by the feature race at the track, the Grade II National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes. It’s for 3-year-olds, and run on the turf at onemile and one-eighth.”
I’d like to dedicate this plaque to all the racing fans of America. The plaque will remain at Saratoga forever, and it is forever yours. –Hall of Fame Trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer (2011)
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The Class of 2014 Contemporary category Horse: Curlin (Smart Strike – Sherriff’s Deputy, by Deputy Minister) He’s the North American leader in money earned, having accrued over $10-million during his career. Notable races won include the 2007 Preakness Stakes, 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic, and 2008 Dubai World Cup. He was voted Horse of the Year, in both 2007 and 2008, and won 11 of 16 career starts. He currently stands at stud at Lane’s End Farm, near Versailles, Kentucky.
Trainer: Gary Jones 69-year-old Gary Jones has won 1,465 races, with purse earnings just over $52-million. A native of Long Beach, California, he trained from 1975 to 1996, and accrued 104 stakes-winners, including 1986 Champion Older Male, Turkoman. Jones also trained Best Pal to wins in the Oaklawn Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Swaps Stakes. He won 15 meet titles on the Southern California circuit, including four at Santa Anita, where he ranks sixth all-time in wins.
Jockey: Alex Solis
Horse: Ashado (Saint Ballado—Goulash, by Mari's Book) Owned by Starlight Stables, Ashado won 12 of 21 starts and had purse earnings of just under $4-million. She was named Champion 3-YearOld Female, in 2004, and Champion Older Female, in 2005. Notable races won include: the Spinaway, the Kentucky Oaks, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff 32 | Equicurean | July 2014
50-year-old Alex Solis, is quickly closing in on 5000 wins (as of 7/1/14), and ranks ninth in all-time in purse earnings, with over $234million. He is a native of Panama City, Panama, and began his career in 1982. He won the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic, with Pleasantly Perfect, and the 1986 Preakness, aboard Snow Chief. He’s won 18 riding titles on the West Coast, and in 1997, he was the recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
Historic category Jockey: Lloyd Hughes Born in Wales, in 1857, Hughes began racing in America, at Monmouth Park, in 1872. He won the Preakness Stakes in 1875, 1879 and 1880, becoming the event’s first three-time winner. He won numerous stakes races including the Belmont, and the Travers, in both 1878, and 1880. Hughes was nicknamed, ‘the lightning starter,’ as he was well adept at getting his horses away in quick order. He died in New York in 1925. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
(Bramble—Duchess, by Kingfisher)
Edward Plunket Taylor was born in 1901, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In 1952, he purchased Lady Angela, the dam of Nearctic, who in turn, sired Northern Dancer.
“One of the most brilliant performers the American turf has ever known.” Claimed the NY Times, in regard to the Belle Meade Stud colt. Clifford campaigned from 1892 through 1897, and crossed the wire first 42 times. More incredibly, he was in the money in 60 of his 62 outings. He was retired to stud at John Sanford’s Hurricana Farm in Amsterdam, NY. He died at age 27 at Hurricana, in 1917.
‘Pillars of the Turf’ category Edward Riley Bradley Edward R. Bradley was born in 1859, in Johnstown, Pa. He had a liking for the letter B, and was the owner of four Kentucky Derby winners: Behave Yourself, Bubbling Over, Burgoo King and Brokers Tip; three winners of the Preakness Stakes: Kalitan, Burgoo King and Bimelich; and two winners of the Belmont Stakes: Blue Larkspur and Bimelech.
This event put Canada on the map as a source of quality breeding. He bred 54 champions, and in 1977, his total of stakes winners bred reached 192. This surpassed the record held by Harry Payne Whitney. E.P. bred 15 winners of Canada’s Queen’s Plate, of which he owned 11. He received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1977 and 1983. He died in 1989. õ The 2014 induction ceremony for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, is scheduled for Friday, August 8. The Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavillion, is located at 250 East Street, in Saratoga Springs, NY. The day kicks off at 10:30 am, admission is free and open to the public - it’s advised to arrive early if you’d like a seat, and you’ll need your own tissues.
In 1896, Bradley purchased Ash Grove Stock Farm, near Lexington, Kentucky, and renamed it Idle Hour Stock Farm. Idle Hour bred 128 stakes winners and 15 champions. He imported the French mare, La Troienne, to America, and this proved to be one of the most important events in the history of American breeding. More than 800 stakes winners have descended from her. He died in 1946. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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The Greatest Jockeys who raced
By Brien Bouyea, photos provided
at the Spa
Along with attracting the best horses in the country,
Saratoga Race Course has a long tradition of being home to the greatest jockeys in the sport of thoroughbred racing. Since the Spa’s early days, many of the best riders annually make Saratoga their summer base. Here is a look at some of the elite jockeys who have carved their legacies into the rich history of Saratoga:
Angel Cordero Jr.
Known as the “King of Saratoga,” Cordero won 14 riding titles and the Spa, including 11 in a row from 1976 through 1986. Cordero won the Travers and multiple editions of the Whitney, Alabama, Forego, Hopeful, Sword Dancer, Jim Dandy, Sanford, Saratoga Special and Spinaway, among others. On the national scene, Cordero won the Kentucky Derby three times, the Preakness twice and the Belmont once. He won 7,057 races and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. He is currently the agent for Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.
The leading rider at Saratoga seven times, Bailey won the Travers three times, the Whitney five times and the Alabama four times. He also won the Hopeful, Test and Bernard Baruch six times each, as well as four runnings of the Saratoga Special, Diana and Jim Dandy. Nationally, Bailey won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont twice each and 5,893 overall races. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
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John Velazquez A five-time leading rider at Saratoga, Velazquez set the all-time record when he won his 694th race at Saratoga in 2013. He won 65 races (a record at the time) at the Spa in 2004 and has wins in the Travers, Whitney, Alabama, Fourstardave, King’s Bishop, Sanford, Spinaway, Test and Jim Dandy, among others. A 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Velazquez has won the Kentucky Derby, two editions of the Belmont and more than 5,000 career races.
Eddie Arcaro The leading rider at Saratoga four times, Arcaro won multiple editions of the Travers, Whitney, Alabama, Hopeful, Sanford, Saranac, Saratoga Special and Test, among others. Nationally, he won the Kentucky Derby five times and the Preakness and Belmont six times each. Overall, Arcaro won 4,779 races. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1958.
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The leading rider at Saratoga five times, Atkinson won multiple editions of the Travers, Whitney, Alabama, Diana, Sanford, Spinaway and Test, among others. Nationally, he won the Preakness and Belmont and was the leading rider in America in 1944 and 1946. Atkinson was the first jockey to earn $1 million in purses in a single year in 1946 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1957.
At Saratoga, won the Travers four times, the Whitney five times and multiple editions of the Forego, Hopeful, Jim Dandy, King’s Bishop, Saratoga Special, Spinaway, Sword Dancer, Test and Vanderbilt, among others. Nationally, Day won the Kentucky Derby, five runnings of the Preakness and three editions of the Belmont. He Won 12 Breeders’ Cup races and 8,803 overall races. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
The leading rider at Saratoga four times, Ycaza won 41 races at the Spa in 1959, breaking a record that had stood for 38 years. He won multiple editions of the Travers, Hopeful, Saratoga Special and Bernard Baruch, as well as the Whitney, Alabama, Diana, Jim Dandy and Sanford, among others. He won 2,367 career races and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
The leading rider at Saratoga in 1965 and 1968, Baeza won the Travers four times (tied for the most ever with Pat Day and James McLaughlin), as well as multiple editions of the Whitney, Hopeful, Saratoga Special, Schuylerville and Spinaway, among others. Nationally, he won the Kentucky Derby and two runnings of the Belmont. Baeza won 3,140 races in his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.
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Laverne Fator The leading rider at Saratoga four times, Fator won 37 races (including 14 stakes) at Saratoga in 1921, which stood as the track record for 38 years. At Saratoga, Fator won multiple editions of the Travers, Saranac and Saratoga Special. He also won the Whitney, Alabama and Hopeful, among others. Nationally, Fator was the leading rider in America in 1924 and 1925. He won 1,075 races in his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955 as part of the institution’s inaugural class.
James McLaughlin One of the greatest riders of the 19th century, McLaughlin is still tied for the most wins in the history of the Travers with four. He also won the Alabama three times, as well as multiple editions of the Saratoga Cup, Kenner, Miller and United States Hotel. McLaughlin won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and six editions of the Belmont. He was elected to the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1955. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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Fashioned Way By Gary Garnett, photos provided
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There is a largely undiscovered gem just minutes away from the stately grounds of the Saratoga Race Course; Joe and Anne McMahon’s plush, green, picturesque haven known as McMahon Thoroughbreds. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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43 years ago that this modest and hopeful venture was launched with one mare of limited racing success.
Having met while working the backstretch at Saratoga, the newlyweds knew this might be a long, challenging road. Through hard work, perseverance, dedication, and a family committed to its business model, this enterprise has grown into one of the most respected organizations in the industry, certainly among the top names in the increasingly lucrative and competitive New York Bred racing world. The McMahon’s are first generation Thoroughbred breeders, certainly a rarity in this traditionrich business. As a distinct credit to both Joe and Anne, they are now positioned to be the first of many generations of successful McMahon breeders! Back in early 2000, a little guy who came to be known as Funny Cide was born right here at McMahon’s. All he did as a 3-year-old was win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and several graded stakes on the way to becoming the highest earning New York bred ever. Anyone who liked Rocky Balboa probably liked Funny Cide, who through his heart and guts overcame what he conceded to his foes in natural ability. If Joe McMahon had been born a horse, he and Funny Cide would have been stable mates and best of friends. Both are unpretentious, straight shooters, and easy to like right at first glance. Sometimes you do get what you pay for, and a spade is a spade.
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Joe and Anne with Jose Santos, Rider of FUNNYCIDE in the Triple Crown Races, 2003. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
The McMahons are first generation Thoroughbred breeders, certainly a rarity in this tradition-rich business.
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A trip to McMahon’s will acquaint you with one of their eight current 2014 stallions, who had some real success on the racetrack but share one common theme. Their parents and grandparents could REALLY run. In the state bred Thoroughbred world, since you’re not in Kentucky with the really high priced stock, there are really only two ways to do it. One way is to buy a flashy young horse just off the track whose name and record will catch the public eye. Then there’s the way Joe and Anne have done it. Knowing the breeding lines inside and out, through more than 40 years of working in the business, remaining ever diligent students of the game, buying at a fair and deserved price, and learning from mistakes. As Anne said there is no college degree in Thoroughbred breeding, so your lessons come through trial and error.
Sydney’s Lexington and her 5-15-14 colt by UTOPIA
Today, the McMahon sires’ past lineage traces back to the greats of Thoroughbred racing and more importantly parenting! They are sturdy, strong, and fast. This diverse roster will appeal to clients of varying investment bankrolls, but primarily the realistic, medium-scale owner. As a New York based farm, this sets the McMahon family up ideally to enjoy their own generational business succession plan. Ranging in price from $2,500 to $7,500, a McMahon stallion is a true bargain, and an affordable roll of the dice in a game where the zeroes at the end of the check really do mean something. As Joe said, we are playing with real money here, not monopoly money! After short stints in Kentucky and Florida, Teuflesberg stands at McMahon for $5,000, having won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. This son of the hugely successful sire Johannesburg has already sired a stakes winner in Trinniberg, who thrilled his backers while leading almost a mile in the Kentucky Derby himself. Utopia is a stallion who raced in Japan, Dubai, and the United States, earning $4.9 Million in his career, by the excellent sire Forty Niner. 42 | Equicurean | July 2014
Sea Wind and her 2-25-14 colt by ARTIE SCHILLER saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
Sweet A Way 2-1-14 colt by CATIENUS
He had an impressive 86 foals in his first crop. Catienus is one of the leading New York sires of all time, standing at McMahon for just $5,000 as well. This regally-bred Storm Cat, sire from a mare by Mr. Prospector, gives any mare a chance to foal a horse of stamina, speed and durability. Many of Catienus’ existing stock are racing at ages 5 and up. The roster at McMahon also includes Here Comes Ben, Justenuffhumor, Mr. Sekiguchi and Forty Tales (owned in partnership and standing offsite). It is a deep and talented, yet affordable roster. saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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Yearling Sales Prep... Teaching yearlings to walk with handler, be bathed and groomed, Actually walking them enough to get them muscular and fit.
Meeting this family was very refreshing, affirming that the Thoroughbred business is not just about grandstanding and wearing a fancy suit and tie as you stroll the red carpet on race day. What made racing great may be the select few, the 1 percenters, but what has caused it to endure for 150 years in America is Joe Six-pack, the $2 bettor, the guy who hits the daily double, Funny Cide, and people such as Joe and Anne McMahon. Fortunately, all of the McMahon children have a hand in the family business both here in New York and in Kentucky. An investment in the McMahon family is like buying a blue chip stock the way your ancestors did. They weren’t looking for a 44 | Equicurean | July 2014
fast buck without having to earn it, but rather the gratification that came from patience, prudence, and realistic expectations. The Saratoga based operations now house approximately 50 McMahon-owned mares, which are bred yearly to the stallions on the farms’ roster as well as other stallions in New York and Kentucky. Roughly 250 additional seasons are sold to mares from other outfits, giving the McMahon stallions a great opportunity to extend the reach of their breeding success throughout the state. On almost every racing day, there will be a McMahon bred horse entered somewhere in the U.S. While the vast majority of each year’s foals are sold during saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
beat in his racing career than it is which races were won and how much money was earned. I was honored to meet with Joe and Anne McMahon, and tour their facilities, which have grown to five area properties. I was engaged and captivated by the honest and forthright discussion of their history and their philosophy in breeding, foaling and racing Thoroughbreds. Their five grown children and several spouses are highly involved in different aspects of the business both here and in Kentucky. John and his wife, Kate, Tara, and Jane oversee the operations in Saratoga in partnership with their parents. Each has their area of expertise, adding their energy and passion for the business. Mike and his wife, Natanya, consult for the family business from their farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and Joe and Anne also benefit from the advice of their daughter Kate and her husband, Fergus, who also own a farm in Lexington. While chatting about racing over a homemade sandwich, drinking Coca-Cola out of a can, I was reminded that simplicity means so much in life. In a beautiful old brick house full of pictures, knick knacks, and love, two people shared quite genuinely the basis of and the fruits of their success. They love each other as much as they do their children, their horses, and the business they have built with their hard work and dedication. (continued on page 45)
annual weanling and yearling sales, some are sold as 2-yearolds, and those not sold are often retained to race for the McMahon colors. While generating most of its revenues from selling youngsters, Joe says they are always interested in acquiring new stallions or mares. He hopes that each purchase he makes is a little better than the best he already has. He searches for horses that had success on the track, have strong and sturdy breeding themselves, and possessed tactical speed on the racetrack. Looking at the quality of racing stock that his purchases had beaten on the track is also important to Joe, as an indicator of true racing class. It’s more important to Joe WHO a horse saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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UTOPIA-Winloc’s Gramie filly... Finished product at the Fasig Tipton NYB Sale
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If you buy “Made in the USA” and you believe in “farm to fork”, then you need to visit Joe and Anne McMahon. True, there are risks and rewards all along the Thoroughbred investing experience. Few entities excel at each facet of this business cycle. Specialization has become the norm in Thoroughbred racing and the investment world of racing. Joe and Anne rely on their decades of hands-on expertise and viewing things with human eyes and caring hearts. They have taught their children how to breed, foal, raise, exercise and prepare young horses for the sales ring and the track. Their methods are tried and true, and their philosophy is principled. Doing what is right by the horse, at every step, and preparing diligently to see their stock of all ages thrive and achieve the best possible results for their owners. Joe and Anne can give you an excellent shot at achieving a return with the satisfaction and pride of knowing you invested with someone local, with ethics and a proven track record. Whether you want to buy a weanling or yearling privately, or cover your mare via one of McMahon’s very affordable stallions, or perhaps sell a stallion or broodmare, Joe and Anne can help you.
opportunity. This is probably how your parents (and certainly grandparents) did it. They actually called people they wanted to talk to, and often even visited them in person! If you already live here in the area, then you probably have picked apples at a local orchard, and proudly bought meat and fruits from local butchers and fruit stands. Why then wouldn’t you invest locally as well? Become a part of a true North Country gem and an American success story, and remember, Joe and Anne McMahon have made their money the old fashioned way… they earned it. õ
If Joe McMahon had been born a horse, he and Funny Cide would have been stable mates and best of friends. Both are unpretentious, straight shooters, and easy to like right at first glance.
If you are visiting the area for the summer and are looking for a new investment idea, you should call and arrange to visit Joe and Anne McMahon. While I’m sure you could click on McMahon’s great website, or Google them, or ask Siri to tell you how to get there, just dial your phone. It will get you back in touch with the old fashioned way of communicating, and set you up brilliantly to evaluate a uniquely American investment
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150 years of racing
HISTORY Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
It begins on July 18 and ends on September 1,
but in those short seven weeks memories will be made and dreams will be realized. While every day of the meet is filled with photo finishes, and favorites that fell short, there are a handful of races that standout in history. Following is our list of Saratoga’s Top 10 races as selected by Allan Carter, Historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Races are listed in chronological order.
July 16, 1872:
Harry Bassett defeats Longfellow in the 2 ¼ mile Saratoga Cup. The loser’s shoe flipped at the beginning of the race, and despite running the entire event as a virtual cripple, he lost by only one length while pressing his opponent to set a new world record for the distance.
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July 31, 1916:
August 3, 1968:
Stromboli wins the Saratoga Handicap. Others in the field were champions Friar Rock (second), Short Grass (fourth), The Finn (seventh), and the prohibitive favorite, Regret (eighth and last), the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby, who suffered the first loss of her career in this race.
Dr. Fager, that year’s champion handicap horse, grass horse and sprinter and Horse of the Year, wins the Whitney by eight lengths while carrying 132 pounds.
August 13, 1919: Upset defeats Man o’ War in the Sanford Memorial, the only loss of Man o’ War’ career.
August 4, 1973: Onion, who had earlier set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs, defeats Triple Crown winner Secretariat in the Whitney.
August 16, 1930:
August 20, 1994:
100-1 longshot Jim Dandy defeats that year’s Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in the Travers. It was the winner’s only victory in 20 starts that year, and Gallant Fox’s only loss in 10 starts, all stakes.
Holy Bull outruns his pedigree when he stubbornly held off the onrushing Concern to win the Travers.
August 5, 1946: Pavot, champion 2-year-old male of 1944, wins the Wilson. Others in the field were Gallorette (second), that year’s champion older mare and Horse of the Year; Polynesian (fourth), 1947 champion sprinter and later sire of Native Dancer; Stymie (fifth), champion handicap horse of 1945 and multi-stakes winner in 1946; and Lucky Draw (seventh), another multi-stakes winner that year.
September 5, 2009: Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra becomes the first filly to win the Woodward when she withstands separate challenges by D’Tara, Bullsbay and Macho Again to prevail by a head.
August 18, 1962: Jaipur, that year’s champion 3-year-old male, defeats Ridan in the Travers. The two raced the entire 1 ¼ miles as a team in one of the most exciting races in Saratoga history.
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Ridin’ A Dream An Interview with public handicapper Kevin Cox
Photo courtesy of Esquire Network by Dennis G. Hogan Photos provided and by MarkBolles.com
Whether you’re a lifelong fanor just the casual player there’s no denying how exciting a winning day at the races can be, but not all of us are adept at choosing the right horse for the right course. Sometimes we need a little help, and that’s where Brooklyn native Kevin Cox comes in. The former NYPD mounted officer, one-time backstretch employee, eventual jockey’s agent and reality TV star now puts pen to paper as a public handicapper for Saratogabets.com. And his column delivers both substance and style, offering the racing enthusiast a unique mix of candor, humor and 52 | Equicurean | July 2014
numbers-crunching analysis that has him lengths ahead of the competition. “It’s better to be part of a movement than the result of one,” remarks Kevin, while reflecting upon his craft. “Anyone can give you the favorite - but that’s dull. I want my readers to know the excitement of cashing a big bet.” He admits to being too confident at times, though he seems perfectly spotted in the vanguard of his industry, leading a charge to the betting windows while proudly carrying a flag of Saratoga red and white - his true colors, and now after some 40 years, his true home.
Walter and Kevin at Saratoga.
“Growing up, my whole family was into horse racing: my Uncles, Jimmy and Artie, my grandfather, Thomas, and especially my father, Walter Bijou saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
Cox. He was a data processor for New York City OTB, and there’d be stacks of racing forms in the house with scraps of paper tucked inside them. He was always trying to find the ‘winning system.’ But what he lived for was coming up to Saratoga every year. We’d stay at the Brentwood Motel, a no-frills establishment that still stands today. In the mornings we’d have breakfast and head over to the track to watch the workouts. I have great memories of those days.”
“My true love was always horseracing, and I had forever wanted to work at the tracks in some capacity, so I’d walk the beat from say 9:30 at night to 6 in the morning, then drive out to Aqueduct or Belmont and walk ‘hots’ for a number of trainers. I first went to Jimmy Ferraro’s barn looking for work. He told me to talk to Gary Contessa.”
Gary provided Kevin his first taste of horse husbandry. Whether it was walking ‘hots’ (horses that had just returned from a jaunt around the track,) mucking out stalls, or rubbing down sore horses, Kevin was up for the task. “Gary actually wanted me to quit my job and come work for him full time, but I had about a dozen years in and my pension was in sight. I think I wanted both worlds.” Rider’s up! “So finally, I called in ‘a hook’, - which is cop talk for called in a favor, and in 2004, I was transferred to the Mounted Division. I spent three months training: learning how to ride, how to care for the horse, how to use a weapon atop a horse it was a grueling experience. I was confident because I was used to being around horses at the track. But it was work - they really don’t want you coming in there thinking you know everything they want to teach you their methods.
Kevin inherited his father’s affinity for finagling numbers and manufacturing curious systems, though it was his mother, Patricia, who helped his transition from in the stands to in the saddle. “She worked for the New York City Police Department, and she sent in the application for me, and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, when’s the test?’ I became a cop at 20 years old, spent my first six years on the force patrolling the subways of Brooklyn as a Transit officer, then another six years as a plain clothes cop in Brooklyn and Queens. “Then came the events of September 11th, and I saw firsthand how so many people, people I knew, had their dreams taken from them. And I decided that was not going to be me.
Growing up, my whole family was into horse racing
“As a mounted officer you’d get about 45 minutes to tack up your horse, and then spend seven or so hours on patrol. All your tack had to shine before you left the stables; we were an elite unit and behaved as such. And riding in the city was not at all like riding Equicurean | July 2014 | 53
at the track: our horse’s shoes were treated with Borium for extra traction; you had to avoid marble sidewalks and metal grates, and we’d never gallop - the most we’d ever get up to was a brisk cantor. “My horse was a retired Thoroughbred whose racing name was Carnival House. He was a grandson of Northern Dancer, and like most Northern Dancer’s, he was slight: 15.3 hands; being tall, my legs wrapped around him so I never fell off. They called him Commander, but I didn’t care for that. Many of the horses are named for fallen officers, so I renamed him ‘Dennis,’ after Dennis Licata, a good friend from my days at Transit. He had left New York to become an officer in Colorado, and was killed in an on-duty motorcycle accident. I posted his photo and some information about him on the stall to honor and keep his memory alive.” “They say, ‘one mounted cop is the equivalent of 10 beat cops.’ It’s omnipresence; a mounted cop can see from one end of the block to the other and if a civilian can see you, a perp can see you and will be discouraged from committing a crime.”
“My beat included Battery Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, all good areas. It’s also said, ‘a good cop never gets cold, wet or hungry.’ Being true to that you’d always try to park your horse outside the finest restaurants in Manhattan. I enjoyed many warming espressos on cold nights patrolling Mulberry Street.
That’s when I started wearing the cowboy hat - I’d have worn a football helmet if it helped my riders!
“One St.Patrick’s Day, I hurt my back. It turned out to be a herniated disk, and I was reassigned to desk duty – for a guy like me, it was torture. Finally, 2011 rolled around. I’d got my ‘twenty’ in, and I retired.” Kevin bid farewell to his pal Dennis, tossed his gear in the garage and never looked back. No longer chained to a desk 54 | Equicurean | July 2014
he returned to the track full time to give a leg-up to other riders, this time as a jockey agent.
“I had gone to Panama to scout talent because I believe Panama has produced some of the world’s greatest jockeys: Laffit Pincay, Braulio Baeza, Gabriel Saez. I found a talented and gifted rider there and gave a lawyer $5,000 to handle the paperwork for him to come to New York. He was going to stay with me and I would handle his book, but the deal went south. I lost the money, and wouldn’t you know it, the kid became the leading rider in Panama.”
Kevin rebounded from the experience and gathered other young riders under
his wing. His most prosperous client: Barbados native Simon Husbands, brother of top Canada-based rider, Patrick Husbands. “Simon was about a 4 percent New York rider. I was hungry and Simon knew it. So we formed a partnership, and he had one of his better years with me. Our crowning moment was at Saratoga when Simon piloted West Point Stables’ Quiet All American to victory. Nothing compared to that win – it was my Kentucky Derby.” Simon stayed with Kevin for about eight months before moving on. And though Kevin worked the backstretch each morning, he never again experienced the type of success he’d known with Simon. “That’s when I started wearing the cowboy hat - I’d have worn a football helmet if it helped my riders!” “Gary Contessa once told me, ‘I don’t ride good jockeys - I ride good agents,’ and I took that to heart and gave it my all,
Brooklyn native, former NYPD mounted officer, onetime backstretch employee, eventual jockey’s agent and reality TV star...Kevin Cox.
Gary Contessa once told me, ‘I don’t ride good jockeys I ride good agents,’
want to give me the brush-off?’
“The next day I came in wearing my boots and cowboy hat, and I made my presence felt. Right-as-rain they came up to me and asked, ‘Oh Sir, would you like us to follow you around? Just sign these papers.”
“All in all, it was a great experience. We traveled to Louisiana’s Fairgrounds, Delmar, The Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park – it was a hoot! There wasn’t a bad thing about it.
“So, I won the contest and two days later I get a call from a producer who exclaimed, ‘We want to be in the Kevin Cox business. We’re looking for the whole smash!’ And I told him, ‘Well, they call me the Brooklyn Cowboy.’ And suddenly, I was part of Esquire Network’s reality TV show,
“Thanks to the Belmont win I earned a seat in the National Handicappers Championship, in Las Vegas, which is the biggest contest of them all. This was added to the other three seats that my Wife, Nicole, and I had earned for the year. She started following horses thanks to my influence and we worked together. But the best we could muster in ‘Vegas, was a mid-pack finish.’ At the end of 2013, Kevin was ranked third in the nation in points earned, by the NTRA. And his luck continued.
but it was a struggle. Forget winners – simply getting mounts was a challenge.” Racing to the Windows. With his days as an agent close to the wire, Kevin picked up The Racing Form, and turned the pages back to an earlier time – the days he spent picking winners with his dad at handicapping contests. “I started doing them full-force once I stopped agenting, and last year it all exploded for me. I won the Belmont Handicapping Challenge, and a first-place prize of $40,000. It was the biggest hit I’d ever known.” “There was a film crew following contestants around. I was focused on the event and didn’t pay them much attention until I took the lead at the end of the first day. Laughingly, I approached and said, ‘Hey, I’m in the lead. You should be following me.” “Well, they sort of gave me the brushoff, so I mused to myself, ‘Ok. You saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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saddle towel, and all the works are videotaped. There’s little room for such nonsense.” “Why is it that horses once ran 30 times a year, and now they run eight? It’s because we’re breeding them for speed – not endurance, and we’re weakening the breed. Horses running in route races travel at a slower rate and there are fewer breakdowns, though in America, we’re continually replacing routes with sprints, and more horses are breaking down - and that’s the sport’s Achilles-heal.”
Kevin with Wife Nicole
In the 2014 Belmont Handicappers Challenge, held this past June. Kevin finished fourth – Nicole finished second. “So, the teacher has become the student,” quipped Nicole’s Dad, Vito, upon hearing of their success. Together, they settled for a combined $25,000 payday. Kevin is still picking winners and pulling down big payouts, and he now shares his thoughts online in a free public forum at Saratogabets.com. “There are several ADW’s (Advance Deposit Wagering sites) in operation, but what I like about Saratogabets is they’re not big – but they’re expanding. And I can speak my mind, which is probably something I could not readily do somewhere else.” “When you’re writing a column you have to make it interesting – but you also have to handicap. I like to think outside the box and that means finding long shots. My second day on the job I picked a $67 horse on top at Gulfstream, then I achieved the Holy Grail – a flat-bet profit for the entire Gulfstream meet. As a public handicapper you hope to do that maybe once every five or six meets. It was amazing for me to hit it right out of the gate.” 56 | Equicurean | July 2014
Advice? You want advice? “Cherry-pick your spots, and try not to bet every race. Identify your strengths - whether it’s a horse’s body language, trainer patterns, or tips from watching race replays. And just make one or two bets per day. If you’re a player who lives for the action, make smaller bets on races where you don’t have a strong opinion, and save your biggest bets for the races where you’re most confident.” “One shortcoming is hubris. It’s important to be decisive, but you can always get beat. So, spread your bets around and use multiple tickets to back up exotics. On the future of racing. “There should be a national commission that gathers all the tracks in all the states under one umbrella. We need to add consistency to the game.” “I remember being at some track and overhearing a trainer ask a clocker, ‘What did my horse work in?’ And the clocker said, ‘:36 and 2.’ The trainer shot back, ‘But he went four furlongs!’ The guy shrugged and said, ‘Ok, :48 and 2.’ So, it makes you wonder who’s running the show? In Japan, a horse doesn’t work unless he has a microchip in his
“People are talking about restructuring the Triple Crown races – I say, restructure the breed. Make the Triple Crown an event for 4-year-olds, and do away with 2-year-old racing entirely. It’ll hurt for a year or two, and the breeding industry and the tracks will lose money, but if racing is to survive, they have to bite the bullet, or there will come a day when there are no more bullets left in the holster.” “I’m also a firm believer in preparing for a horse’s retirement. Why not add a fee of one-tenth of 1 percent to the price of all horse sales - including claims, and use that money to establish a fund to subsidize the retirement of racehorses? The fee on a $200,000 racehorse would be $200. Now, if you can’t afford to add that to the selling price, you should not be in this business. If we had a national commission, this could be accomplished and many of the problems associated with retirement would disappear. People need to remember that it’s all about the horse.” Kevin splits his time between Long Island and his newly acquired home in Saratoga Springs. His mom and dad have passed on, though their memories are preserved among the photos and keepsakes he and Nicole have framed upon their walls. Outside stands a lawn jockey. Kevin’s had it for a while; he rescued it from the entrance of a long-shuttered Saratoga restaurant where he’d top off a day with his dad. He paints it different colors each saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
year; all herald his affection for racing and the love of a community he’s known since a boy. This year, he’s chosen West Point Stables’ gold with black star, sleeves and cap, in memory of he and Simon’s win at the Spa. And with every brushstroke he honors those whose dreams were dashed, while he continues living his own dream, in bright and glorious colors. õ
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By The Numbers
1833 50” 10K
The year the first railroad came to Saratoga Springs. Courtesy of: SaratogaTours.com
Average length of a mallet (commonly known as the stick)
The average weekday crowd at the track… during the 1950’s
the highest amount paid at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga… Parlando, 1984
1898 The year the Saratoga Polo Club was established
The year the great Man O’ War was sold as a yearling at the FasigTipton Saratoga sale.
350 Acres 1,049,309 The size of the famous Saratoga Race Course.
1902-1906 When Harry Payne Whitney, son of William Collins Whitney, was Delegate to the United States Polo Association.
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7 Min. Length of time of one of the six chukkers in a polo game
Record Breaking Meet Attendance at Saratoga Race Course – 2003
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Spotlight Ballet and Horse Racing in Saratoga By Marilyn Lane, artwork provided by Boguslaw Lustyk and Sharon Castro
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As predictably as students return to Skidmore every fall, the New York City Ballet (NYCB) comes back to Saratoga each summer. Unlike the horses that train here six months out of the year, the dancers arrive just ahead of their season and then step back to give sway to the racing season. Today, it’s hard to imagine Saratoga without its celebrated race meet but there were times when the “National Park of Racing” came frightfully close to permanent shutdowns. William C. Whitney, August Belmont ll, and other patrons of the turf saved the sport from decadence gone wild at the turn of the 20th century. Anti-gambling legislation shut down New York racing in 1911-12, but once common sense took the lead, they were off and running again. Saratoga
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. -Jawaharlal Nehru
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Race Course managed to stay open during World War I, survived the Great Depression and though closed from 1943-45, reopened after World War II. Crime busting Estes Kefauver ran gambling out of Saratoga, save for racing in the ‘50s, and without the draw of roulette wheels and other illicit pleasures the city plummeted. In the ‘60s, the newly completed Northway, and the opening of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), carried Saratoga back to the winner’s circle.
“Dancers are the athletes of God.” -Albert Einstein
“Saratoga is the wickedest spot in the United States. Crime is holding a convention there and vice is enjoying a festival as it never dared approach before.” -Nellie Bly Lincoln Kirstein has long been acknowledged as one of the most important influences in the development of American culture in the 20th century and he certainly polished the luster of Saratoga. Kirstein brought ballet and George Balanchine to America in 1933, and the two of them later participated in the design phase for SPAC and outlined its artistic agenda. The storied amphitheater opened on July 9, 1966 with a presentation of George Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and for several years thereafter, the NYCB would spend four weeks adding culture to a city known primarily for its healing waters and sporting ways. The tides were changing and I think even Nellie Bly would favor the new wave. “We are working toward the pure tradition of classic ballet as it has been handed down to us. It is exquisite – pure and crystal like a precious stone.” -Lincoln Kirstein The NYCB is one of the foremost ballet companies in the world, and the product of one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen—George Balanchine. Their presence in Saratoga elevates the social fabric and they attract visitors of the highest quality to our community. 62 | Equicurean | July 2014
Robert Maiorano was 19 years old when he first arrived for the inaugural season and he became one of the first members of the company to buy a home here. He recently recalled how Balanchine initially prepared his dancers for the changed audiences they would find in Saratoga. “We must educate the people slowly to bring them to us,” said Balanchine. “That is what culture is for, to raise people up and bring them out of the doldrums.” “Lincoln Kirstein was, for most of the 20th century, America’s mightiest cultural swizzle stick.” -Dwight Garner The NYCB raised a lot of people up but not enough of them perennially returned to the box office to offset the expense of keeping the company here for an entire month. A decade ago SPAC was prepared to drop the prestigious company entirely, but Saratoga’s cultured population gamely fought off the dismissal, and won, like Affirmed refusing Alydar’s repeated bids. The NYCB stayed on, but the season was reduced to two weeks. Last year their stay dropped to a singular week. This year is again a single week, but gratefully a second one will be added for 2015. “It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” -Henry James saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
MORE RACING DAYS An illustrious four-week season of racing earned Saratoga Race Course the tagline, “The August Place To Be,” but that doesn’t fit the present 40-day model. The increased amount of racing works on many levels but not all. In recent years more and more weak cards have appeared during the week, and late in the meet, the quality of the horses drops off noticeably. The summer doldrums are bound to penetrate into such a long season but you can hedge your bets by looking to the cultured elements in racing. Some consider that a stretch but I like to think it should be a more natural transition. The two seemingly disparate activities actually do share commonalities. Both horseracing and ballet are vigorous, multi-leveled activities that weigh demands on participants and spectators alike. Anyone can flirt with them, but the full experience is reserved for those who understand their kaleidoscopic appeal. Dancers, horses and jockeys work incessantly and sweat hard to stay supple and fit. Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey summed it up with this remark when asked what he was going to do when he retired. “Have lunch,” he retorted. The role of ballet master Peter Martins and that of a Thoroughbred trainer parallel in more ways than you may have imagined. Looking at a class of young dancers or going
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to the Fasig-Tipton sales would prompt much of the same inquiry. Is he/she balanced? Is the movement fluid and graceful? Is the neck long and elegant? Are the legs straight and strong? And have they been educated through creditable channels, their spirit left unbroken? A very fine line exists between applying too little or too much pressure to high-strung or slow-developing colts and fillies or young dancers. Many promising young prospects are ruined early, some through bad training and others by too much coddling. The head is what most often screws things up but at anytime a misstep can eclipse months, even years of training.
DANCERS HIT the HIGH NOTES in RACING References to dance are threaded through the pedigrees of racehorses like music with ballet. That’s because most people who own high-level horses earned their money elsewhere, and along the way they absorbed the special nourishment that culture alone can provide. Oftentimes their favored memories are reflected in the names they choose for their horses--names like Sadler’s Wells, Theatrical, Arts and Letters, Nureyev, Bolshoi Boy, Nijinsky, Gala Performance, Baryshnikov, Drosselmeyer…In fact, if you were to remove the dance-related names from the pedigrees of modern Thoroughbreds, the breed would fall more quickly than a dancer with an Achilles’ heel. Native Dancer is rated No. 7 in the top 100 racehorses of the 20th century. He won all nine of his juvenile starts including the Flash, Special, Grand Union, and Hopeful right here at Saratoga-- all in the span of 26 August days! Native Dancer attended the winner’s circle in 21 of 22 lifetime starts, the Travers among them. In his last race, the champion carried 137 pounds to victory in the Oneonta Handicap, at Saratoga. His only defeat came in the 1953 Kentucky Derby when, after a troubled trip he narrowly lost to Dark Star. 64 | Equicurean | July 2014
MAKING MILLION DOLLAR DANCERS At stud, Native Dancer left an indelible mark on the breed. He sired 44 stakes winners and was the dam-sire of 84 more stakes winners. He is the grandsire of the great Mr. Prospector and the broodmare sire of Northern Dancer. As a sire, Northern Dancer was so successful that his stud fee reached $1 million during the 1980’s, and although he’s been dead for more than 20 years, he appears in the pedigree of more Breeders’ Cup winners than any other horse. Racing columnist John Sparkman once noted, “The constant crossing and recrossing of the Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector stallions that now dominate our gene pool means that Native Dancer’s name appears at least once — and often three or four times — in the pedigree of virtually every stakes winner that crosses the finish line.”
BALLET GOES to the POST George Balanchine choreographed a ballet in 1959, titled Native Dancers. John Martin, Dance Critic for the New York Times from 1927 to 1962 was quoted as saying, “The work was found only out of Balanchine’s second drawer.” Daunting as it may seem, that should not deter another artist from taking a stab of making something more memorable out of the artistic possibilities that beckon from the combination of horses and ballet. Remember, Hall of Famer Seabiscuit lost the first 17 races of his career. During that time he was owned by the famed Wheatley Stable and trained by the legendry Hall of Famer, ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons. Seabiscuit became “The Biscuit,” and a cultural icon of his era, under the tutelage of a smalltime trainer, Tom Smith, and the unheralded rider, Red Pollard. Native Dancers wasn’t Balanchine’s only brush with racing. It is well touted that he typically spoke in metaphors and saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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You make yourself a Balanchine dancer by dancing his ballets. Your legs change, your body changes, you become a filly. -Melissa Hayden
Balanchine amid his new breed (1968)
among his favorites was to make analogies between dancers and horses. Maiorano recalls that Balanchine often would rhyme the names of his dancers with those of famous fillies and on cool nights at SPAC, he would provide horse blankets to protect his ballerinas from the chill. Maiorano added, “In Balanchine’s daily classes, which served as his laboratory,” he would often say, “You girls are like Thoroughbreds. You are special; you can do more than other women. You are more graceful, more beautiful, and can move faster. But you know, a Thoroughbred if left alone will walk around, eat grass, sleep and make other Thoroughbreds. To become special he needs a man (a trainer) to push him to his fullest potential and that’s me.”
Balanchine knew how hard to push and his dancers responded with sublime performances. He’s revered in memory much as Hall of Fame trainer Mack Miller is in the racing world. Both were gentlemen and far too humble to credit themselves for their many successes. All you have to do is go to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame or to the National Museum of Dance (both in Saratoga) to see how great these men were and to learn of so many other illustrious talents in the world of racing or ballet. If everyone would spend more time in those two institutions, and not miss either, we’d have more enlightened fans. “A museum should be never finished, but boundless and ever in motion.” -Goethe One of the greatest pairings of a horse named after a dancer was Nijinsky. Vaslav Nijinsky, the dancer, was Russian-born and cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. He possessed legendry ability to perform gravity defying leaps and other worldly characterizations. His complicated life and brilliant career are far too vast to rein into a few sentences, but his name is always one of the first to roll off anyone’s tongue when the conversation turns to ballet. 66 | Equicurean | July 2014
Hall of Famers, Mike Smith and Bill Mott hoist the trophy after Drosselmeyer’s Belmont win.
the disqualified “winner” of the Epsom Derby. Nureyev can be found in the pedigrees of Afleet Alex, Big Brown, English Channel, Lemon Drop Kid and Student Council, and his name is assured to remain in pedigrees for generations to come.
Drosselmeyer was bred and owned by WinStar Farms and is the only horse to have won both the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic. His sire, Distorted Humor was also the sire of Funny Cide, Commentator, Flower Alley and Any Given Saturday.
Art gives man the points of the compass in Life.” -Rodin Nijinsky, the horse, was a son of Northern Dancer. He was undefeated in five starts at two and selected Europe’s outstanding juvenile colt in 1969. The following season he became the first horse in 35 years to win the English Triple Crown. Retired to stud he became a leading sire. Nureyev was another famous son of Northern Dancer. He was American-bred, French-trained and was best known as
Distorted Humor carries Native Dancer blood on both sides of his pedigree and Drosselmeyer and Flower Alley add even more Native Dancer blood from their dams’ side. GIVE the DANCER HIS DUE Marylou Whitney has had one foot in dancing and the other on the racetrack since she married Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney in 1958 and together they lifted Saratoga to new heights. C.V. (Sonny) Whitney died in 1992 and in 1997 Marylou married John Hendrickson. This couple continues to elevate this community and to that end they have proposed a new Centennial Park in Congress Park to be completed for Saratoga’s 100th anniversary next year. The focal point will be a life-size
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INTERESTING SIDE NOTES: Robert Maiorano was a soloist with the New York City Ballet for more than 20 years. Apart from his dancing career, he authored the award winning World’s Apart, and Mozartina, The Making of a Masterpiece, as well as three children’s book. The author/retired dancer continues to teach, choreograph, lecture and learn more about horses.
DANCERS HIT the HIGH NOTES in RACING On Belmont Day NYRA, (New York Racing Association), featured five Grade 1 stakes aside form the Belmont Stakes itself. The brilliant program created record-breaking wagering for the downstate track’s premier day of racing. Every one of the stakes winners, including Triple Crown spoiler, Tonalist, carried the blood of Native Dancer. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, California Chrome has so many crosses to this foundation sire that looking at his pedigree causes your eyes to cross.
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sculpted statue of Native Dancer. Noted equine artist Gwen Reardon has been commissioned for the work. Unlike Man o’ War, Gallant Fox or Secretariat, “The Dancer” did not suffer an upset in Saratoga, otherwise known as, “The Graveyard of Champions.” Longtime Saratoga resident, Louise Goldstein has seldom missed a live performance of the NYCB at SPAC. She recalls that Balanchine often used to say, ” If you don’t like ballet, just close your eyes and listen to the music.” I might add, if you don’t like horseracing, just open your eyes and look at the horses. After all, it’s not by accident that horses are the most frequently depicted animal in art. õ
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BILLY FUCCILLO A Different Kind of Horsepower By Arthur Gonick, Photos provided
Our mom’s are exactly alike – and not because they raised us both on Long Island. His mom mutes his commercials too. But there’s another side to the story that is Mr. Billy Fuccillo. Horse owner. A Saratoga devotee who has not missed an August here in decades – and he does his part to promote it far and wide. I was tempted to call him a “mini-Marylou” in that regard, but there is never anything “mini” about Billy’s larger than life persona. You see on TV commercials that literally pop off the screen 24/7/365, and feel it when he talks with enthusiasm about all things equine and Saratoga.
According to Equibase, Billy is currently ranked 1,307 out of 21,705 registered owners in earnings this year and has well over $1.3 million in earnings since 2000. So he’s huge in this game too. Q: Can you tell me about when you first starting coming to Saratoga Race Course and perhaps your earliest memory? BF: It was 1981. I graduated from Syracuse University in 1978. The first big race I remember was the 1983 Travers – Play Fellow over Slew O’ Gold. I’ve been at the meet in August every year since 1981. Q: Horse ownership is a different dimension. Who’s in your stable now? BF: I have two. Sometimes I have more, but I move them. Currently, I claimed Mewannarose at Saratoga for $35,000. He’s won about $125,000 for me. Trained by Chris Englehart. And just last week at Belmont, I claimed Mr. Popsicle for $40,000. Q: Is Chris Englehart your trainer? BF: Him and Linda Rice are the two I use the most. Q: Any memorable victories at Saratoga? BF: Four years ago I had winners three times during the meet. That was a good run. I’ve never had a big horse, like a Grade I winner. Maybe someday. Q: You also indicated that you investbuying and selling off horses too. Have you ever bought at the Fasig-Tipton sales? BF: Just the NY Bred sales. Not from the big one. I’d say the biggest score I had in that area was buying a yearling at Keeneland for $47,000 and selling it at Calder’s 2 year-old sales for $500,000. Q: You’re making people think this is an easy game!
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BF: Oh, no no no! This is a game where you win on 2 and lose on 22! Q: Regarding the Saratoga social scene, which gala’s or charity events should the paparazzi keep an eye out for you at? BF: None of them. I’m not a gala guy; our company contributes millions to charities each year though. When I’m up in Saratoga, I’m here to relax, party with friends, forget about work for a while. I do go out to a lot of places in town though. Q: And you help promote them. One of your more memorable commercial campaigns in recent years is when you do a set-up at various Saratoga venues, like Prime or Pennells and tout people on their virtues. How did that come about and should we look forward to more of the same this summer? A: It is a fun campaign. We might do it again this year; we are thinking about a few concepts right now for spots that will start airing in mid-July. Back then; I came up with the idea to help promote Saratoga and in some cases, help the little guy out who cannot afford the kind of airtime we buy… Bruce Cerone, the owner of Pennells loved it, but ended up begging me to pull the spot at one point because he had too many reservations and the staff was getting burned out! But it’s a great place. Everyone who was featured expressed his or her appreciation. Except NYRA. Q: How so? BF: I did a stand-up in front of the clubhouse entrance, a general theme of “everybody deserves a day at Saratoga” and right after it aired, I get this really unfriendly ‘cease and desist’ letter from NYRA. The whole thing left me puzzled… Q: We don’t need to print this…I don’t want to get you in trouble. BF: No, go right ahead. I want you to. What do I care? I want them to know why I don’t answer them when they are looking for a contribution for this or that program that they are sponsoring. With this interview, Billy Fuccillo has completed an unprecedented ‘daily double’ of sorts… he is first person to be profiled in both of Saratoga TODAY’s summer magazines in the same year – Simply Saratoga in June (see page 176) and now Equicurean in July. If I were to characterize this achievement in a single word it would have to be… um, it would have to be… I’m drawing a blank. Maybe Billy can think of one. I’ll ask him when I see him at Pennells in August. õ
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Track Fashion Photos courtesy of the Saratoga History Museum
A look back...
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On July 11th, the Saratoga Polo Association’s 116th Anniversary Season bursts onto Whitney Field, galloping into a marathon of majestic polo action for seven straight weekends. Each weekend, teams will compete in a new tournament, which culminates with the cup match on Sunday. This season’s events include the Polo Hall of Fame Cup Tournament on August 8th and 10th, as well as Alex and Ani presents Women’s Week featuring the Veuve Clicquot Women’s Challenge on August 29th and 31st. The season welcomes action on the field, and fun in the stands with divot stomps, music, fashion, shopping, contests,
and more with family and friends! Matches take place at Saratoga Polo Association’s Whitney Field at 2 Bloomfield Road, Greenfield Center, NY every Friday and Sunday July 11th-August 31st. Gates open at 4pm and the matches begin at 5:30pm. For tickets and more information, go to Saratogapolo.com.
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History Saratoga Springs Polo
Throughout the years, polo luminaries ranging from an iconic line of Whitneys and Vanderbilts furiously battled with iconic American polo enthusiasts such as the Ingleharts and Bostwicks. In the midst of the Twentieth Century, the Whitney Field lay dormant until being revived in 1978 by polo legend Tommy Glynn. Throughout the following years, players such as Peter Brant, Hector Barrantes and William Yvlisaker brought polo to a new modern era in Saratoga. In 1994, Tony DePaula, Bob Bailey, George Hearst III, with Linda and David Mansfield purchased the Polo Club, laying the groundwork for the popularity it hosts today with its new owners, Mike Bucci and Jim Rossi. In 2004, these new owners purchased the club and besides making polo more accessible to a broader audience, they 78 | Equicurean | July 2014
increased its visibility with major partners that include Veuve Clicquot Champagne as sponsors of one of the largest women’s tournaments in the United States. In 2008, plans were approved for construction of the spectacular Saratoga Retreat that will include luxury accommodations, private residences, an event hall and exclusive spa. In 2012, the Saratoga Polo brand reached a new level by the announcement of a partnership with national apparel sponsor U.S. POLO ASSN. In the 115 years that has passed since the first polo players graced Whitney Field, much has changed in the world, but the tradition of Saratoga Polo lives on, finding an endearing place in Saratoga, and now reaches fans across the country, and the world. ◊ saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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EVERY FRIDAY AND SUNDAY AT 5:30 P.M. JULY 11 - AUGUST 31, 2014 (GATES OPEN AT 4 P.M.) SEASON-LONG SEAT SUBSCRIPTIONS AND MATCH TICKETS ON SALE NOW! For seat subscriptions, tickets, and more information go to saratogapolo.com
July 11: Celebrate Saratoga Cup Tournament
August 1: Whitney Cup Tournament
July 13: Saratoga Living Magazine Celebrate Saratoga Cup
August 3: WHITNEY CUP
July 18: The Mid Summer Celebration Tournament July 20: Sponsored by Siemens
August 8: Polo Hall of Fame Cup Tournament August 10: Polo Hall of Fame Cup
July 25: SPA Anniversary Cup Tournament
August 15: Barrantes Cup Tournament D.P. Miller Associates Cup
July 27: SPA Anniversary Cup
August 17: RBC Wealth Management Barrantes Cup August 22: Ylvisaker Cup Tournament August 24: Ylvisaker Cup August 29: Alex and Ani presents Women’s Week Featuring the Veuve Clicquot Women’s Challenge
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Polo Primer A breakdown of terms you’ll hear on a typical day at the polo field
Also called a period. There arc six chukkers in a polo game (four in the Arena Polo), each lasting seven minutes. After sixand-a-half minutes, a bell will sound to indicate 30 seconds remain in the period. At the end of seven minutes of elapsed time, a horn will sound to terminate the period. If the score is tied at the end of last period of play, the game shall be resumed in overtime periods, known as sudden death.
Two mounted umpires (one for each side of the field) consult each other after each infringement and impose a penalty only if they agree. Ir they do not agree, they ride to the sidelines to confer with the third man, known as the referee.
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Throw-In A chukker begins and many plays resume with the umpire bowling the ball between the two ready teams. A ceremonial throw-in is done by a guest at the beginning of the match.
The referee sitting at the sidelines. If and when the two umpires on the field are in disagreement, the third man makes the final decision.
POSITIONS Each of the four-team members plays a distinctly different position. Since polo is such a fluid game, the players may momentarily change positions, but they will try and return to their initial assignment. No. 1 is the most forward offensive player. No.2 is just as offensive, but plays deeper and works harder. No.3 is the pivot player between offense and defense and tries to tum all plays to offense. No.4, or the back, is the defensive player whose role is principally to protect the goal.
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A ball which is hit under the horse’s neck from either side. This is approximately 80 percent of their game.
Hitting the ball behind and across the horse’s rump.
This occurs when two riders make contact and attempt to push each other off the line of the ball to prevent the other from striking. The horses are the ones intended to do the pushing, although a player may use his body but not his elbows.
Anytime a ball crosses the line between the goal posts, it is considered a goal regardless of whether a horse or mallet causes the ball to go through. In order to equalize wind and turf conditions, the teams change sides after every goal scored.
Sideboards Boards that are 9 to II inches along the sidelines. Sideboards are optional.
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Also known as a “stick.” The shaft is made from a bamboo shoot and the head from either the bamboo root or a hardwood such as maple. These vary in length from 48 to 54 inches and are very flexible in comparison to a golf club or hockey stick.
A player may spoil another’s shot by putting his mallct in the way of the striking player. A cross hook occurs when the player reaches over his opponent’s mount in an attempt to hook; this is considered a foul.
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Polo Equipment Have you ever wondered what is required for the horse and rider to stay safe during a Polo match? Helmet reins SADDLE
Brow band nose band
bit HEADPIECE MARTINGALE throat lash ELBOW & knee padS
POLO WRAPS mallet BALL 88 | Equicurean | July 2014
Mallet- a mallet, usually 49”-54”consists of the shaft, normally made of a flexible, solid, bamboo-like wood known as Manau (from the palm family of plants) and the head, made of ash or maple. There is also a strap that goes around the player’s wrist.
Helmet- Just like most contact sports, the helmet is probably the most important part of safety equipment. With the horses moving at an average speed of 40 mph, at the ball travelling at a top speed of 100mph, the hard outer shell and cushioned inner layer can prevent head trauma in an unlikely case of an accident.
Ball- Usually made of solid plastic 3 to 3-1/2 inches in diameter and 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 ounces in weight. For many years they were made of wood, but because of their fragile nature, would often split in two. Player Knee and Elbow PadsOften made from shock resistant resin and leather
Polo Wraps, Shin Boots, and Bell Boots- All of these pieces of equipment protect the lower legs of the horse. Wraps are fabric pieces wound around the lower leg of the horse, and the boots are often leather.
Headpiece- This is looped over the horse's head and ears to support the bit in the mouth. Brow Band- This band is looped across the forehead to prevent the bridle from slipping backward.
Bit- A metal mouthpiece helps to direct the horse Nose Band-Helps to stop the horse from avoiding the bit. Throat Lash- helps to stop the bridle from slipping. Reins- The reins are attached to the bit rings.
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Fashion Style Color
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There’s something so stirringly American as a young person singing the National Anthem, so, imagine singing in front of thousands of fans at a field that’s nine and a half times the size of a football field, and you’ll understand how big it is to sing at Saratoga Polo this summer.
“Saratoga Polo is becoming the place to go for families to celebrate summer, and we’ve always known that showcasing young singers is part of what makes the experience so special,” says Alan Edstrom, Director of Events at Saratoga Polo, “and this, our 116th Anniversary Season, we have some new singers, and some who are growing up in front of our eyes.”
whose voice just gets better every time, as well as Matthew’s younger brother Spencer, and some of the best young talent around.
The young people, ages 8-18 include seasoned professionals like Matthew Boyce who is an Elvis Tribute Artist and actor, as well as young Lily Olsen (now joining us in her third year),
Whether it’s hard hitting play on the field, fantastic fashions in the stands, or the most amazing young singers, Saratoga Polo has it all!
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The rest of the singers include Jordan Hall, Riley Flint, Matthew Boyce, Anna Dennett, Ciara Knott, Grace Billok, Makayla Myers, and Ashley Marie Crescenti.
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Thoroughbred Racing? Head a ½ mile east. World Class Polo? Head a ½ mile west. Great Dining, Shopping and Fantastic Fashion?
Welcome to Downtown in the Spa City! By Chad Beatty, photos by Mark Bolles and Tom Stock
The season is here
and electricity is in the air. From the early morning hours to the late night soirees, downtown is a hotbed of activity with something for everyone. The days begin at the crack of dawn with city workers making their way up and down Broadway. They are busy watering colorful flowers that hang from Victorian lampposts, reminiscent of another era. The petals catch rays of early morning sunlight which highlight their vibrant hues of red, purple and white. Store proprietors crack their doors, preparing their unique shops as dogs trot by with their humans and take in the scents. 94 | Equicurean | July 2014
If you haven’t enjoyed an early morning stroll down Broadway, you owe it to yourself. Whether I take a jog or grab a coffee and walk, the early morning feel on Broadway is the perfect start to a Saratoga day. As the noon hour arrives, diners line Broadway and enjoy a variety of cuisines and views. Happy chatter fills the air as busy servers scramble between tables. There is no shortage of first-class service in this city! Speaking of service, our local shops have some of the best. Whether shopping for books or baubles, you will most likely find it somewhere downtown. And if eclectic is your style, we have plenty of that also. So make sure you venture saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com
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off the main course and hit the side streets. Their charm and uniqueness leaves you wanting to come back for more. And fashion…let’s not forget fashion! Any discussion of the shopping scene would be truly incomplete if it didn’t delve into our local boutiques. Words can’t due them justice, they have to
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be experienced to be appreciated. As the evening arrives it is time to show off those perfect outfits you bought just hours earlier. So pull up a chair, order a drink and enjoy the final moments of sunlight before it fades into the skyline. This is the time when visitors are treated to a cornucopia of stimuli for all the senses; the
sights, the aromas and the sounds of a city coming to life. Sizzling steaks and ‘Popping’ champagne tell all that it is summer in Saratoga Springs. Street performers entertain the crowds as our local bands tune up for their first set. Party your way into the wee hours of the night and make a few new friends along the way, but make sure to get to bed before dawn, because when the sun comes up it starts all over again! õ
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